This was posted by Deborah E. Lipstadt and Norman Eisen in the Washington Post on December 23, 2020.
Scoff. That’s what we did years ago when we each first heard about Holocaust denial, as a Holocaust historian and the child of a survivor, respectively. Dismissing it as the historical equivalent of flat-Earth theory, we reassured ourselves that the Holocaust has the painful distinction of being the best-documented genocide in the world. Who could claim it did not happen? But we soon discovered we were wrong to laugh at it, as the falsehood crept into classrooms, books and even international relations. We have learned — the hard way — to take it seriously.
That is why in recent weeks we have watched with alarm the birth of another powerful disinformation mythology: the false conviction pushed by President Trump and his enablers that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen.
We had wondered whether the definitive vote of the electoral college and the declaration by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that Joe Biden was the president-elect might provide a final end to Trump’s electoral fraud fantasies. But he has instead redoubled his dangerous disinformation crusade, reportedly even probing the use of the military to further his bizarre theory that the election was stolen.
Call it democracy denial.
As students of history, we do not make this comparison lightly: No lie could be as bad as denying the reality of a genocide. But democracy denial is bad enough.
Like Holocaust denial, there is an unmistakable racial tinge to Trump’s democracy denial. He and his cohort are openly targeting strongly minority jurisdictions with their false claims, in particular cities with large Black populations — Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta. Here’s how Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, put it: “You knew if you lived in Philadelphia. Unless you’re stunod — that’s an Italian expression for stupid — unless you’re stupid, you knew that a lot of people were coming over from Camden to vote,” he said. “And it’s allowed to happen because it’s a Democrat, corrupt city, and has been for years.”
As Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has noted, “Really the themes that we see [from Trump] … are this: Black people are corrupt, Black people are incompetent and Black people can’t be trusted.”
Also like the denial of the Holocaust, the sheer scale of Trump’s electoral falsehoods is staggering: Millions of votes supposedly stolen. An alleged global conspiracy to tamper with election equipment. Purportedly widespread official complicity, including by officials such as Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Doug Ducey of Arizona, who are both Republicans and Trump supporters. Even Venezuela’s long-dead Hugo Chávez is somehow involved. It makes no sense, as judge after judge has repeatedly determined.
But the same can be said of Holocaust denial.
Trump is not, of course, Adolf Hitler, and we unequivocally reject the comparison. But he has adopted the propaganda technique of the big lie. “In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily,” Hitler wrote. “It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
The rest of this article explains at greater length how questioning the results of this anomaly-ridden election is undemocratic and almost as bad as questioning the Holocaust.
I was hoping that these two distinguished authors would decisively refute at least a few of the vast number of lies (called evidence) by the Trump legal teams. Like the sworn affidavits by the little people who saw what was happening that night, the whistleblowers, and the observers who were blocked from observing.
I hoped they would put an end to all the nasty rumors circulating about those shady Dominion voting machines.
But alas, they did not.
To their credit, they tried hard not to compare Trump to Hitler. They even “unequivocally rejected the comparison,” but that moment of generosity only lasted until their next sentence when the urge became uncontrollable, as it always does.
Another Hitler – a pejorative term used to describe a nationalist or populist leader on the political right.
Everyone knows that Adolf Hitler was the most evil person who ever lived, even more evil than Joseph Stalin, Vlad the Impaler, Harvey Weinstein, or Joseph McCarthy.
Most authoritarian leaders targeted for regime change through color revolutions have been compared to Hitler. When this label is applied to a sitting head of state, it is a serious accusation, justifying his removal through a coup or whatever means are necessary..